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GREEKS AND BARBARIANS
IN FIFTH AND FOURTH CENTURY SICILY
ANDREW T. ALWINE
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS
UNIVERSTIY OF FLORIDA
I would like to thank first of all my parents, my sister, and my family, who
provided me with the educational, moral, and religious background to succeed at this
level. I am also very grateful to Konstantinos Kapparis, Jim Marks, and Victoria Pagan
for their help and guidance. I would also like to express my appreciation to all the
teachers, colleagues, and friends who have been there for me on so many occasions.
Finally, I would like to thank my dear wife for supporting me throughout my life and
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S .......................................................................................... ii
ABSTRACT ................................................... iv
1 INTRODUCTION ........ ...... ........................... ................... 1
2 POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE .................................. .................................. 3
3 M ER CEN AR Y W A RFARE ....................... .......................... ..................................... 12
4 C O SM O P O L IT A N ISM ............................................................................................ 19
5 DIONYSIUS AND THE CARTHAGINIANS...................... .... ............... 28
6 THE VIEW FROM THE MAINLAND .................................................... ........ 36
7 BARBARIANS IN THE SOURCES ............................................................ 43
8 THE HOSTILE TRADITION .............. ......................................................... 55
B IBLIO G R A PH Y ........................ .. ........................ .. .... ........ ......... 57
BIO GRAPH ICAL SK ETCH .................................................. ............................ 60
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in
Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
GREEKS AND BARBARIANS
IN FIFTH AND FOURTH CENTURY SICILY
Andrew T. Alwine
Chair: Konstantinos Kapparis
Major Department: Classics
Ethnic interaction in Sicily has a long and rich history. Indigenous peoples saw
the arrival of immigrants from southern Italy, supposed refugees from Troy, Phoenician
settlers, and Greek colonists. By the fifth century mercenaries from Campagnia, Iberia,
Sardinia, and Libya had also settled on the island, contributing to the great blend of
ethnic and cultural groups which is certainly a hallmark of the Sicilian experience.
This thesis argues that Sicilian Greeks of the fifth and fourth centuries, because of
a long history of intermarriage, multiculturalism, and cosmopolitanism, lacked a strong
sense of Hellenic identity. Dionysius I was the first to attempt a unification of Greek
Sicily behind an anti-barbarian ideology, though only halfheartedly. Mainland writers
and historians, who were influenced by Panhellenic doctrine, viewed Sicilian affairs in
terms of the "Greek vs. barbarian" motif and evaluated Dionysius I on that basis. This
contributed substantially to the hostile historiographical and anecdotal tradition against
Ethnic interaction on the island of Sicily has a rich and long history. Evidence
from the very beginnings of the historical period attests to the great mixture of peoples
and cultural groups which would became one of the dominant features of this region's
demographic makeup. Indigenous peoples saw the arrival of immigrants from southern
Italy, supposed refugees from Troy, Phoenician settlers, and Greek colonists. By the fifth
century mercenaries from Campagnia, Iberia, Sardinia, and Libya had also settled on the
island, sometimes founding their own settlements and sometimes being absorbed into one
of the many multicultural cities on the island. This blend of ethnic origins and interaction
between racial and cultural groups is certainly a hallmark of the Sicilian experience.
In this thesis I argue that Sicilian Greeks of the fifth and fourth centuries, because
of a long history of intermarriage, multiculturalism, and cosmopolitanism, lacked the
strong sense of Hellenic identity which began to form in the minds of mainland Greeks
after the Persian Wars and crystallized in the Athenians' Panhellenic doctrine of the
fourth century. Chapter 1 examines the political events in Sicily which reveal the
weakness of ethnic consciousness and concludes that, despite the biases of the literary
sources, there is no evidence that ethnic allegiance were primary motivations in the
decision-making processes of Sicilian states. Chapters 2 and 3 explore possible causes
behind this state of affairs. The second chapter argues that the predominance of
mercenary warfare from a relatively early time undermined ethnic perceptions, since it
tended to professionalize and depersonalize armed conflict. Chapter 3 investigates
evidence from archaeological and literary sources which supports the conclusion that
social life in Sicily was essentially multicultural and cosmopolitan, with no clear dividing
lines between ethnic groups. In Chapter 4 I look specifically at the rule ofDionysius I
and attempt to demonstrate that, while he portrayed himself as an anti-Carthaginian ruler
in order to maintain his power, he did not significantly change the multi-ethnic situation,
since Sicily continued to be an essentially cosmopolitan island with many different
Chapters 5 and 6 consider other Greeks' perceptions of Dionysius and Sicilian
affairs. Chapter 5 argues that evidence from Plato, Lysias, and Isocrates shows that they
evaluated Dionysius based on his success in repelling the barbarian invaders of Sicily, the
Carthaginians. Because Dionysius failed in this respect, he was held in low esteem by
Panhellenic theorists in Hellas proper. In Chapter 6 I further suggest that the historians
who wrote about Dionysius were influenced by Panhellenic doctrine and, like
contemporary Athenians, viewed Sicilian history as dominated by the conflict between
Greeks and barbarians. These authors therefore assessed Dionysius' rule in accordance
with this "Greek vs. barbarian" motif. Chapter 7 offers some thoughts on the
consequences of this information and concludes that Dionysius' low reputation with
regard to the Panhellenic ideal of driving out the barbarian and uniting Greek cities
contributed substantially to the hostile historiographical and anecdotal tradition.
The complexity of the political history of Sicily, like the situation in many of the
Greek colonies, stems largely from the extensive mixture of competing peoples in a
limited geographical area. On this island many cities of diverse and often mixed ethnic
descent existed alongside each other, trading, allying, and warring with each other.
Native Sicilians (the Sicani), early Italian immigrants (the Siceli), supposed refugees
from Troy (the Elymi), Carthaginians, and Greek colonists from Dorian and Ionian
origins interacted with each other on a daily basis, often inhabiting the same cities and
fighting in the same armies. Mercenaries from Greek Italy, Campagnia, Sardinia, Iberia,
and Libya who settled on the island or were granted territory in return for their services to
Sicilian potentates added to the great medley of cultural origins. It is not surprising, then,
that Sicilian history displays many twists and turns, shifting alliances, wars between
ethnically similar cities, and conflicts crossing ethnic boundaries. While cultural
identities certainly did exist in Sicily, no deep-seated ethnic conflict between Greeks and
non-Greeks emerges from the factual evidence for the fifth and early fourth century. In
fact, the political events indicate that in Sicily there was a distinct lack of ethnic
consciousness in the decision-making processes of the various states.
In the early fifth century, when many cities on the Greek mainland began to band
together against the common Persian foe, Sicily had no such experience which would
have aided the Sicilian Greeks in the formation of an ethnic consciousness. According to
Herodotus, when envoys from Hellas arrived at Syracuse and asked Gelon for aid against
the barbarian, the tyrant denied their request, despite their appeals to their common Greek
heritage: aou 5 6uv6pdi6 TE ydp iKEI\ JEY6A(cO Kai PoTp6 TOI Tfq 'EXhA6Oq OlK 6Aaxia-rn ~Tra
6PXovTi yE IKEAinq, poI0eE TE TOTOI AEUOEpouoI Tiv 'EM65a Kai oUVEAEUOepou. 6rAi pIJv ydp
YEvop&Ivrl naoa ri 'EMA6 XEiP JEy6Arl ouv6yETal (7.157.2). Gelon requested the command of
either the army or the navy, knowing that this was a demand unacceptable to the
Athenians and Spartans. Thus, he cleverly extricated himself from any obligation, for
when the emissaries refused, Gelon sent them away. Furthermore, the tyrant sent three
penteconters laden with gold to Delphi to bear tribute to the Persian king in the case of a
Greek defeat (7.163). Whether or not the speeches of Gelon and the envoys (if not the
entire embassy to Sicily) are Herodotus' invention,2 this story may preserve the mainland
Greeks' correct opinion that the Siceliots cared little for the troubles of Hellas proper.
Certainly Gelon was capable of sending aid to the Greek resistance, for he controlled the
greater part of the island and had become extremely wealthy (Diod. 11.26.1).
Afterwards, some Greeks, probably reacting to the mainland Greeks' negative evaluation
of his actions,3 excused Gelon for his absence from the Persian Wars by asserting that he
had been forced to reserve his resources in Sicily for the fight against the Carthaginians at
Himera (Herod. 7.165.1). However, the battle of Himera was originally between Theron
of Acragas and the Punic-Greek force under Hamilcar. Gelon, who was apparently still
at Syracuse when the fighting began, arrived only later when Theron was in danger of
defeat (Diod. 11.20.5).
1 Asheri (1988) 772.
2 Treves (1941) argues that Herodotus has taken parts of the speeches from the embassy to Gelon from a
funeral speech of Pericles and suspects that the whole mission is fictional. Ahseri (1988) finds "no reason
to reject Herodotus' story" (772).
3 Asheri (1988) 772.
Despite later comparisons with the Persian Wars, the conflicts between the
Deinomenids and the Carthaginians in Sicily did not foster the idea of the barbarian
outsider who must be resisted by true Greeks, as the Persian resistance did on the
mainland.4 Though comparisons of the victory at Himera over the Carthaginians to the
battle for Greek independence at Plataea were naturally made (Pind. Py. 1.72-80; Diod.
11.23; Herod. 166.1), this war was as much an intra-Greek struggle as a war between
opposing ethnicities vying for control of the island. Herodotus states that the
Carthaginian army had come at the behest of Terillus, the tyrant of Himera, who had been
driven from his homeland. Terillus had obtained friendship (xEivinv) with Hamilcar, the
Carthaginian general, and the support of Anaxilaus, who was tyrant of Rhegium, an
Ionian city always at odds with the Dorians in Sicily. Furthermore, Hamilcar was a
product of one of the many mixed marriages between Greeks and foreigners, for he was
half-Carthaginian and half-Syracusan (7.165). Hamilcar had also obtained an alliance
with another Greek city, Selinus, making the forces opposing Theron and Gelon truly a
coalition of Greeks and Phoenicians, initiated by a Greek leader (Terillus), not a Punic
expeditionary force bent on the subjugation of the Greek cites of Sicily (Diod. 11.21.5).6
After the defeat of the Carthaginians at Himera, Gelon concluded a peace very
favorable to the Carthaginians (Diod. 11.26.1). In this instance the victor was not
4 Hall (2002) 172-189.
5 Hall (21114) 41.
6 Diodorus differs from Herodotus in this account, stating that the Persians had contracted an alliance with
the Carthaginians to crush the Greeks in the East and West (11.1). This, however, does not provide a firm
reason to discount Herodotus' version, for Diodorus has been shown to be prone to careless and insensitive
abbreviation and simplification (Gray ). Diodorus was also predisposed to view Carthage as the
perpetual enemy of the Greeks (see below, Chapter 6) and may have been influenced by the traditional
association between the Carthaginian conflict and the Persian wars (Pind. Py. 1.72-80; Diod. 11.23; Herod.
166.1) and the tradition that the battle of Himera occurred on the same day as Thermopylae (Diod. 11.24.1)
or Salamis (Herod. 7.166).
vindictive or demanding; Diodorus praises Gelon for his clemency, even to the
Carthaginians, whom Diodorus calls his worst enemies (noAEPIaTT-yrcv, 11.26.1). Thus,
these events reveal no deep-seated animosity towards the Carthaginians, for the conflict
began as an intra-Greek conflict and the Carthaginians were simply the most powerful
contingent of a Greek-Punic alliance. For many Greeks, especially on the mainland,
Gelon's crushing defeat of the Carthaginian-led army at Himera in 480 proved a fitting
western parallel to the Greek defeat of the barbarian enemy in the East. In fact, however,
the "Carthaginian" War was a dispute between several states with opposing political
interests, not an ethnic conflict.
If Diodorus' portrayal of the Carthaginians as the perpetual enemies of the Greeks
were correct, the Siceliots might have been expected to follow up their grand victory in
480 by liberating the island from Phoenician influence. If ever the Siceliots had
opportunity to rid the island of the Carthaginians, it was when Gelon had united most of
the Greek cities in Sicily under his rule and had defeated the Carthaginian army.
Nevertheless, neither Gelon nor his successors ever undertook a campaign against the
Phoenicians in the West. Even after the overthrow of the Deinomenids in 466/5, the
democracy would have been better equipped for eliminating the Punic presence, since
Carthage may have been suffering from internal discord due to revolts against the power
of the Magonids, severely hampering their ability to deal decisively in the colonies.7
However, the next seventy years appear to have been free from conflict with the
Carthaginians. The Syracusans undertook campaigns against Catana (Diod. 11.76.3),
Ducetius and the Siceli (11.91-2), Acragas (12.8), and Leontini (12.53-5) and continued
to expand their influence, but they never resumed a war with the Carthaginians.
7 Sanders (1988).
Hermocrates' advice to the Syracusans in 416 to seek an alliance with the Carthaginians
shows that he considered the non-Sicilian Greeks more of a threat than the Phoenicians in
the West (Thuc. 6.34.2).
The Carthaginians must have also pursued a laissez-faire policy in Sicily, for
when Syracuse went through a period of considerable civil strife (Diod. 11.73), Carthage
made no move to detach Syracusan dependencies or to strengthen their presence on the
island. The Punic empire during this period had secured numerous resources: gold from
Guinea, silver from Spain, and tin from Galicia, which led to a thriving bronze industry.8
After 460 Carthage had gained considerable wealth and power from its trade in the
western Mediterranean and was afforded several opportunities for revenge by the Greeks'
internal difficulties, including the revolt of Ducetius which lasted throughout the 450s,
and the wars with Acragas (12.8) and Leontini (12.53-5). The Carthaginians also refused
to join Athens against Syracuse in 415 (Thuc. 6.88.6), although the Athenians had
already landed a very large army in Sicily. Had the Carthaginians been active in the
western half of the island while the Athenians besieged Syracuse, they certainly would
have made significant gains in territory and possibly effected the downfall of Syracuse,
which would have been deprived of its Greek allies on the island while facing two of the
most powerful states in the Mediterranean. Of course, Carthage may have feared
Athenian presence on the island more than Syracuse's in 415, but their reluctance in 409
to go to war with Syracuse even when it had become the preeminent Sicilian power
reveals a distinct distaste for intervention in Greek affairs on the island (Diod. 13.43.5).9
8 Piccard (1968) 100.
9 Piccard (1968) 101.
Following the failure of the Athenian expedition against Syracuse, Carthage
began to take a more active part in Sicilian affairs once again. However, as in the time of
Gelon, there is no evidence that the Carthaginian campaign was motivated by ethnic
hatred of the Greeks. Diodorus reports that the Segestans, when Athens deserted them,
could not make peace with Selinus and therefore appealed to Carthage for help (Diod.
13.43). The Carthaginians at first balked at undertaking a war which would potentially
bring them into conflict with Syracuse, but were persuaded by Hannibal, their foremost
citizen (npcoTE6ovroq, 13.43.5). Hannibal, the grandson of the Hamilcar who had been
defeated at Himera, had his own motives for invading Sicily, as he himself later
demonstrated when he tortured and slaughtered 3000 Greeks as a sacrifice to the spirit of
his grandfather on the battlefield at Himera and then razed the city (13.62.4). Therefore,
Carthage entered the war under the influence of a suffete with a personal vendetta and,
after many years of peace, only began hostilities at the request of a largely Hellenized
Elymian city.10 The Phoenician-Greek conflict that began in 409 may have had the
appearance of an ethnic conflict between Carthaginians and Greeks, but the underlying
motives belie this simplification of the events.
Even with the emergence of a real Carthaginian threat to the Siceliots, the
political situation in Greek Sicily at this time continued to be very divisive. Dionysius,
who took tyrannical power at Syracuse in 405, immediately encountered defections of
Greek cities to the Carthaginian side (Diod. 14.41.1) and faced the prospect of an alliance
between Carthage and the Chalcidian and Ionian cities to the North. His fear of this
coalition against Syracuse was real enough to induce him to cede to Messena a large
10 By the fifth century Segesta, along with the other main Elymi cities (Eryx and Entella), were thoroughly
Hellenized. See Asheri (1988) 741-2.
portion of territory, to seek a marriage alliance from Rhegium, and to promise to help the
Rhegians expand their territory (14.44.4). Dionysius had not worried foolishly, since in
383 Carthage finally did secure an alliance with the Italian Greeks against Dionysius of
Dionysius' concern that these Greek cities would join with Carthage seems
exceedingly ill-founded if we are to believe the stories that Diodorus reports about the
sacking of Greek cities.11 Diodorus states that when the Carthaginian army took Selinus,
frKpWoTrpiqaov &E Kai TOUq VEKpou0 KaTC T6 n6Tplov 9Oq, Kai TiVq piv XETpaq 6dp6aq neplicpEpov
TOTS ocpaool, TIVEq & KE(paA dq 1ni TCOV Yaioov Kai TOV oauvicov dvanEipovTEq Eqcppov. [...]
TOOCOUTO Ydp C )6TrITI 5IE(PEpov oi p6ppapol TOv fAAov (13.57.3, 5). Likewise, when
Hamilcar entered Acragas, oXE56v dnavraq TOUq tyKaTaOAElcpOtVTa 6vETAEv (13.90.1).
Diodorus also reports that when the news of the sack of Acragas spread many Greeks left
Sicily and transferred their families and possessions to Italy (13.91.1). If the
Carthaginians had acted in such barbaric fashion and many Greeks had fled to Italy,
certainly the Italian Greeks who had received refugees would have been unlikely to
undertake an alliance with the Carthaginians. Since the Italian Greeks did join Carthage
against Dionysius of Syracuse (15.15.2), Diodorus' stories about the cruelty and hatred of
the Phoenicians should be received with skepticism. 12
It is more likely that the Carthaginians had a reputation in Sicily for even-handed
dealings and fair administration. Testaments to this are the defection of several Greek
cities from Dionysius' control to Carthage (14.41.1) and the loyalty with which the Greek
11 The destruction of cities and removal of whole populations was not a new atrocity committed by the
Carthaginians; Gelon had already destroyed three Greek cities and moved multiple peoples from their
habitations, thus anticipating the first Carthaginian acts of this kind in 409 (Asheri  769-70).
12 See below, Chapter 6.
citizens of Motya withstood the siege of Syracuse, even in the absence of a Carthaginian
army or leader (14.53.4). Hence, when Theodorus speaks against Dionysius, he
advocates dependency on the Carthaginians rather than subservience to the tyrant:
KapXqr6viol piv y6p, KaV noAJ(pP KpaTriocol, cp6pov 6cpicTvov Aap6dvrEq OUK 6V pidt EKcAuoav
TOTS naTpiolq v6polq SIOIKETV TIrV n6Aiv (Diod. 14.65.2). In fact, some later authors did not
consider the Carthaginians barbaric. Eratosthenes, the third century Alexandrian
librarian, suggested that the Greeks should consider non-Greeks according to their merits,
for some barbarians are admirable in their administrations, as Strabo reports: P3ATIOV ETvaI
cproiv 6peTfi Kai KaKig 5ialpETv TaiTa. noAAo6u ydp Kai TOV 'EAArv ov EivaI KaKOUC Kai TCOV
papp6pcov d6cTE(ou, Ka06nEp 'Iv(ouL; Kai Aplavouc, TI ~i 'P(pojaou; Kai KapXnroviou;, oiUTC
OauJpaoTrC noAITEuoptVOUS (1.4.9). The Carthaginian constitution was the only non-Greek
government which Aristotle considered in his study (Pol. 1272b24-1273b25) and
Isocrates also praised Carthage as one of the best governed states in the world (Tou;
dplcrra T--V AAWco noAITEuopjvouq, Nic. 24). Cicero also lauded the Carthaginians' system
of administration (De Rep. 1.3).
Thus, the evidence from the political history of Sicily does not point to any deep
divisions between Greeks and barbarians, despite Diodorus' attempts to portray Carthage
as the perpetual enemy of the Sicilian Greeks. The changing alliances crossing ethnic
lines, extended periods of peace, the desertion of Greek cities to the Carthaginian side,
and the fact that the Greek-Carthaginian conflicts began at the instigation of other Greek
or Hellenized cities indicate that the political situation in Sicily in the fourth and fifth
century was divided and capricious, but not primarily ethnically defined. Certainly Greek
identity was present in Sicily to some degree, but states in Sicily generally made political
decisions based on their own interests rather than an allegiance to their ethnic or cultural
The absence of clear ethnic dividing lines in the political makeup of the Sicilian
states may have in part resulted from the predominance of mercenary warfare from a
relatively early date. Many different peoples from all over the Mediterranean fought for
hire on the sides of both the Carthaginians and Sicilian Greeks: Italiots, Siceli, Sicani,
Elymi, Sardinians, Campanians, Iberians, Libyans, and even mainland Greeks. The great
diversity in armies composed primarily of foreign soldiers tended to professionalize and
depersonalize conflict in Sicily. Just as Demosthenes worried that the Athenians' heavy
dependence on hired soldiers had resulted in citizens' apathy (Philippic 1), the prevalence
of mercenary warfare in Sicily could have led to the distancing of the common citizen
from the war and the perception of the enemy. The contingent of citizens in a Greek
army would usually have been small compared to the numbers of mercenaries and would
rarely have encountered Phoenician soldiers, who were infrequently committed to battle.
Therefore, the Carthaginian threat should have been much less tangible than if the battles
had been drawn along these ethnic lines. Warfare in Sicily in the fifth and early fourth
centuries demonstrates that both Carthaginians and Greeks predominantly employed
armies consisting of many different ethnic groups and that many mercenary groups
changed sides, further obscuring ethnic boundaries. Because of the great diversity among
the soldiers on both sides, armed conflict in Sicily probably contributed much less to
cultural divergence than warfare in Hellas proper, where citizen armies of the fifth
century fought against the Persians and other outsiders.
The Carthaginians only rarely committed citizens or even Phoenician soldiers to
combat; instead they relied heavily on foreigners to fight for them. The wealth which
their trading empire had brought them allowed the Carthaginians to hire great armies for
their campaigns. Diodorus mentions particularly the mines in Iberia which yielded
enough gold to bring numerous soldiers into their pay early in the development of their
western Mediterranean thalassocracy (5.28.2-3). Before each major campaign in Sicily
the Carthaginian government or the general who oversaw the expeditionary force traveled
far and wide to recruit mercenaries for the war. When the Carthaginians first decided to
aid Segesta after the withdrawal of Athens, they did not send a Phoenician army, but
gathered the Libyan and Campanian mercenaries who had been hired by the Chalcidians
in support of Athens and sent them to Segesta's aid (13.44.1). Subsequently, Diodorus
refers to this army as "the Carthaginians" (TCov Kapxnqoviov, 13.44.4), though he has
already given the numbers of Libyans and Campanians in the army and omitted any
reference to Carthaginian presence. Diodorus' readiness to call a group of mercenary
recruits under Carthage's aegis, "Carthaginians," warns us to be wary of Diodorus'
terminology. When he uses the term "Carthaginian" of an army, he designates only
Carthaginian leadership and does not indicate the ethnic makeup of the troops. Hannibal
joined the mercenary group later, bringing with him many (noAAou, 13.44.6) Iberians,
Libyans from every city (X 6n6rcqq n6AEoq), and not a few (o0K 6Al ouq) Carthaginians
citizens. The Carthaginian contingent with Hannibal was probably quite small compared
to the combined force of Libyans and Campanians already employed in Sicily and his
new recruits from Iberia and Libya, but no doubt Hannibal knew that it was necessary to
keep a body of loyal soldiers who would check the common fickleness of mercenaries.
1 Miller (1984) 157.
Given their habitual absence from battle, this was probably the citizen soldiers' chief
Again in 396 the Carthaginians summoned as many of their allies as possible and
sent Himilcon along with mercenaries from Libya and Iberia to invade the Greek cities.
The numbers of mercenaries gathered are not believable (300,000 infantry, 4000 cavalry,
four-hundred war ships, and six-hundred other ships and engines of war, as Ephorus
states them; 100,000 troops from Libya and 30,000 enrolled in Sicily, according to
Timaeus), but they do indicate that Ephorus and Timaeus were aware of how heavily
Carthage depended on hired soldiers (Diod. 14.54.5). In 392 the Carthaginians, probably
running low on their supply mercenary recruits, supplemented their Libyan forces with
Sardinians and native Italians. Notably, mention of citizens enrolled in this army is once
again absent from Diodorus' account (14.95.1).
Carthage's difficulty in putting down the Libyan revolt following Himilcon's
disastrous campaign also shows its heavy reliance on foreign warriors. The
Carthaginians apparently put up little resistance as the Libyans quickly occupied Tynes, a
city not far from Carthage. The Phoenicians retreated to the city of Carthage and
remained there, supplied by sea from Sardinia, to outlast the rebels. Eventually, the
manifest futility of the siege, the lack of any obvious leader, and a shortage of provisions
brought the Libyans into discontent and a good number of them succumbed to bribery by
the Carthaginians. In this manner the Carthaginians did put down the rebellion, but they
never dared to fight the insurgents. As in their military affairs in Sicily, gold from the
wealthy trading city proved a better weapon than a citizen army recruited from merchants
and sailors (14.77).
Plutarch, in the account of Timoleon's conflict with Carthage, states that the
Carthaginians lost 3000 citizens, the most that had ever fallen in a battle. When the
propensity of ancient sources to exaggerate the casualties of the opposing army is taken
into account, this figure is a very small number in view of all Carthage's military activity
in its colonies and dependencies and it indicates how infrequently the Carthaginians were
willing to commit their citizens to battle.2 This passage from Plutarch confirms the
tendency of the Carthaginians to rely heavily on their mercenary armies and to avoid
using their own troops in battle. Contingents of citizen soldiers probably served the
purpose of overseeing the foreigners more often than they took part in the fighting
The Siceliots likewise made frequent use of mercenaries when engaged in large
wars such as the conflicts with the Carthaginians. In 406 the Sicilian Greeks enlisted the
services of the Campanians whom the Carthaginians had employed on their previous
expedition and subsequently discarded after their withdrawal (13.85.4). The Acragantini
also hired Sicilian Greeks, who deserted along with the Campanians when the situation
began to look desperate (13.88.5). So too did Dionysius make use of mercenaries
frequently, both for fighting the enemy outside the walls of Syracuse and maintaining his
own power within. Indeed, the two mainstays of Dionysius' tyranny were his fortress on
Ortygia and his mercenary armies. He led an army of mercenaries against the
Carthaginians at Gela in 405 and then returned to the city while the Syracusan cavalry
went ahead of him. When the Syracusan citizens revolted against him at the instigation
of the knights who had returned beforehand, Dionysius forced his mercenary army to
cover 400 states in a day and take the city by surprise (13.109-113). This was not the
2 Warmington (1964) 123.
only time Dionysius had to rely on his hired soldiers to regain his rule. The next year a
group of Syracusan soldiers revolted against Dionysius again, even calling on the cavalry
who had taken refuge at Aetna to join in the rebellion. Dionysius was shut up in his
palace in a seemingly hopeless situation, but he was able to sneak out to the mainland and
entice some Campanian mercenaries with the prospect of a great deal of gold, thereafter
winning his tyranny back with the swords of foreigners (14.8-9).
Dionysius was acutely aware of his dependence on his mercenaries and was quick
to dispose of potentially troublesome groups. Thus, during Himilco's seige of Syracuse
he gave the order to a particularly bothersome band of mercenaries to attack while he
withdrew his cavalry, leaving the mercenaries to be slaughtered (14.72.2-3). Later, when
he suspected that his hired soldiers were becoming hostile towards him, he arrested their
leader and dismissed the troops, only to recruit other mercenaries immediately
afterwards. Dionysius had to maintain the loyalty of his mercenaries; they were his elite
troops3 and constituted his bodyguard. Dionysius even received criticism in later times
for his dependence on foreign soldiers. Plutarch says that Dion had warned Dionysius
that a good rule was formed on goodwill with the people and not his huge bodyguard of
foreigners (papp6pWv pupiavcpov cpuAaKIv, Dion 10.4). Likewise, in Diodorus' most anti-
Dionysian section Theodorus delivers a speech against the tyrant asserting, T6O S T V
pioOocp6pov nAijOoq ni 5ouAEig TCOV lupaKOicCov iOpoiaral (14.65.3). Theodorus later
accuses Dionysius of giving the citizens' arms to barbarians and foreigners (papp6pouq Kai
vouq, 14.66.5). However, the practice of hiring large groups of foreign soldiers was not
uncommon before Dionysius, nor after him, for even Dion, the pupil of Plato and
3 The notice at Diod. 14.52.5 that an Italian Greek (Archylus of Thurii) led the elite troops of Dionysius
indicates that at least in this instance he relied on foreigners for this part of his army.
supposed liberator of Syracuse, found himself fighting against the Syracusan citizens
with a hired army (Plutarch, Dion, 22).
The changing allegiance of mercenary armies further contributed to the
breakdown of ethnic demarcations in warfare. Mercenary armies in Sicily, just as other
groups of hired soldiers, tended to offer their services to the highest bidder. After
Athens' withdrawal from Sicily, Carthage found no reason to recruit soldiers from the far
reaches of their colonies; they simply rehired the soldiers who had been in the employ of
the Chalcidian cities of Sicily (13.44). After the successful campaign in 409 in which
Hannibal sacked Selinus and Himera, the Carthaginians left their Campanian mercenaries
in Sicily, as they retired to Carthage for the winter (13.62.5-6). As the Carthaginians had
suspected, when they returned to Sicily in 406, they met with the same Campanian
mercenaries, disgruntled at what they considered unfair treatment and now in the service
of the Greeks. Despite forcing the Campanians into the arms of the enemy, Carthage
would eventually reclaim their allegiance at the siege of Acragas. Though the
Phoenicians' own mercenaries had at first threatened to leave when their provisions were
slow in coming, Hamilcar was able to capture a Syracusan provision fleet and quiet the
discontent. Then, as Acragas' position became extremely precarious, the Campanians on
Acragas' side deserted to the Carthaginians (13.88.2-5).
The Siceli are another good example of a group who switched sides frequently.
Hannibal, having taken Selinus, received into his army a number of Siceli and Sicani,
whom Diodorus insinuates were natural enemies of the Sicilian Greeks (13.59.6).
However, Dionysius, after he had sacked Motya, left a garrison composed mostly of
Siceli in charge of this strategically and morally significant city (14.53.5); clearly he had
some reason to trust them. The Siceli, unmoved by Dionysius' faith in them, soon
revolted against him and went back over to the Carthaginians when it became expedient
for them to do so (14.58.1).
The prevalence of mercenary armies in Sicily and the frequent changes of
allegiance led to a great permeability in the ethnic boundaries between battling forces.
The Carthaginians only rarely committed citizens to battle, relying heavily on
mercenaries, while the Greeks also enlisted the aid of foreigners in order to match the
numbers of their opponents. In battle no doubt only a small portion of the fighting was
between Greek and Carthaginian and foreigners who fought on both sides played the
greater role in the actual hostilities.
The situation in Sicily was completely unlike that in mainland Greece during the
fifth century, where citizen armies met the Persian foe and brought back their war stories
which stimulated fear of and disdain for the Eastern army. In Sicily the Carthaginian
threat must have been much less visible, since the borders between the sides were so fluid
and warfare was predominantly a professional affair. The fluctuation of alliances
confused ethnic demarcations and contributed to the depersonalization of warfare. No
"us vs. them" mentality every developed and Greek citizens rarely came face-to-face with
their actual enemy, the Carthaginians.
The lack of ethnic demarcations in the political realm of Sicily no doubt stemmed
from a long history of cultural mixing. Evidence from the early Greek colonial period to
the fourth century supports the conclusion that Greeks mingled with the non-Greek
inhabitants of Sicily and blurred ethnic and cultural lines. Archaeological records and
primary sources attest to intermarriage, bilingualism, cultural sharing, trade connections,
and personal interactions between Greeks and barbarians. The great degree of race-
mixture that took place in Sicily explains the divisiveness of the political situation
discussed above and provides some reasons for the lack of strong ethnic and cultural
identities in Sicily. Through the time of Dionysius, the dominant feature of the cultural
scene in Sicily was cosmopolitanism.
One of the primary means for cultural intermixing seems to have been mixed
marriages. Although the archaeological record in the West is highly debated, some
information from the primary sources indicates that intermarriage did in fact take place in
Sicily. As to the nature of the earliest colonial activities, scholars have mostly rejected
the idea that the omission of reference in ancient sources to women in these ventures
provides solid evidence for their absence in earlier colonial foundations.1 However,
intermarriage certainly was being practiced in Sicily as early as the fifth century, for
Thucydides implies that residents of Selinus and Segesta married from the same groups
of women when he states that one of the reasons for the conflict between these two cities
1 Hall k2 "14) 40.
was about marriage rights (nEpi TE yapIKOV TIV@V, 6.2.2). Carthaginians, even in the most
upper strata of society, also married among the Greeks, for Hamilcar, one of the two
Carthaginian suffetes, was in fact half-Greek (Herod. 7.165). Even if one does give
credence to story in Herodotus, the instance does at least show that such a union was not
Archaeology has shed some light on the cultural mingling between Greeks and
barbarians in the West, but many recent scholars have highlighted the obstacles to using
the archaeological record in determining ethnicity.2 Previously, several scholars
interpreted the great number of Italic fibulae found at Pithekoussai as an indication of
widespread mixed marriages in Western Greek colonies.3 The fibulae showed no
similarity to those at Euboea or anywhere in Greece, but very closely resembled the ones
found at Villanovan sites in Etruria, particularly Veii. The native Italian items unearthed
were mostly for women, so Buchner concluded, "most, if not all, of the colonists' women
were not Greeks but natives."4 However, Hodos rejected this interpretation of the
material evidence and stated that trade with the native inhabitants, not intermarriage, was
the more likely cause of widespread Italic items.5 Other scholars have likewise rejected
the argument that these fibulae can prove intermarriage between Greeks and indigenous
peoples. However, at the very least these archaeological finds do imply a high level of
cultural interaction between Western Greek colonists and non-Greek peoples.
2 Jones (1997); Hall (1997), (2002).
3 Buchner (1979); Coldstream (1993).
4 Buchner (1979) 135.
5 Hodos (1999).
Moreover, other archaeological evidence does suggest that intermarriage was
practiced in Western Greece at a much earlier date than the fifth century, as the primary
sources attest. In a recent article on Western Greek identity, Jonathan Hall offers several
pieces of firm evidence for cultural interaction and possibly intermarriage and
bilingualism. Some seventh-century artifacts from Etruria contain the names Rutile
Hipukrates and Larth Telikles, which probably resulted from marriages between Greeks
and Etruscans. In Sicily a sixth century amphora found at Montagna di Marzo attests the
names Tamura and Eurumakes in a non-Greek inscription and a curse-tablet of the same
time records the name Pratomekes. These names apparently derived from Greek names
(OapOpaq, EOp6paxoq, FlpaTO6axog), but notably lack the aspiration from the Greek letters
theta and chi. Ancient grammarians noticed the absence of aspiration in native Sicilian
dialects (Greg. Cor. De Dialecto dorica 151) and modem study of non-Greek Sicilian
inscriptions has not produced any instances of the letters theta, phi, or chi. As Hall notes,
these Sicilianized Greek names could point to the results of intermarriage between
Greeks and native Sicilians.6
The use of Greek names in native Sicilian contexts also suggests a bilingual
environment. Such an atmosphere would have aided the well documented spread of the
Greek alphabet to the Siceli, Sicani, and Elymi. Natives of the West obtained their
scripts from a variety of Greek cities; the Chalcidian script, the script of Gela, and the
script of Selinus are all attested in non-Greek areas. Also, the ending -emi which appears
in Elymi inscriptions may have been borrowed from the Greek Eipi. Interestingly,
lamblichus records a story stating that Pythagoras ordered his Greek followers to speak
6 Hall I'"' 4) 40-1.
Greek, thus implying that many Greeks in the area were speaking a native language or at
least a hybrid language which employed words and phrases from both Greek and native
tongues (Vit. Pyth. 34.241).7 In fact, several native places names, words concerning
weights and measures, foods, and domestic objects did make their way into the Sicilian
Greek dialect.8 The possible prevalence of bilingualism and the use of native elements in
the Greek language is especially important for the study of Greek identity in the West,
since it complicates the idea that the Greeks primarily defined themselves based on their
Trinity Jackman has recently provided further evidence for the cultural diversity
of Sicily by illustrating the fragmentary nature of the Sicilian political experience.
Through analysis of the burial material at three sites throughout Italy, she concludes that
Sicilian Greeks "were much more interested in defining themselves in reference to a
much smaller group" than the Greeks of the Aegean region.10 The disconnected nature of
Greek settlements in Sicily and the high number of native artifacts found alongside
Hellenic ones suggests a high level of cultural interaction and possibly intermarriage.
She also states that non-Greek indigenous centers often became a part of Greek
settlements and continued their traditions through the fifth century, thus maintaining a
hybrid identity with the Greek colonists. Admittedly, it is very difficult to employ
archaeology to reconstruct ethnicity. However, the fluidity of the colonial experience in
Sicily attested by the material record and the fragmentary concept of political identity
7 Hall (2'"'14) 41-3.
SAsheri (1988) 747-8.
9 Hall (2k. 14) 43.
10 Jackman (2005) 1.
strongly suggest that Sicilian Greeks were particularly inclined to maintain relations with
non-Greek inhabitants; political communities were locally defined and their ties to
broader identities were weaker, while interaction with other inhabitants of the island was
The sources also attest the presence of Greeks and Carthaginians in each other's
armies and cities, which would have encouraged bilingualism and cultural
communication between the two peoples. In 409 Hannibal, depicted by Diodorus as a
crude barbarian and a natural hater of the Greeks (Kai (cpQEI poiAAnv, 13.43.6), actually
had Greeks serving in his army (13.57.3). Moreover, at the siege of Motya the inhabitant
Greeks fought with the Carthaginians against Dionysius in a desperate struggle. That the
Greeks of Motya remained faithful to the Carthaginians is all the more remarkable in
view of that fact that Dionysius controlled the entire island except for five cities
(Halicyae, Solus, Aegesta, Panormus, and Entella, 14.48.4) and that Himilco had already
withdrawn the main Carthaginian force from Sicily (14.50.4). The outlook for Motya
was indeed bleak and Carthage was unable to dispatch an army in time to save the city,
yet the Greeks of Motya were loyal to the Phoenicians to the bitter end, eventually
meriting crucifixion for their efforts (14.53.4).
Just as a number of Greeks had taken up residence in Motya, in the heart of the
Carthaginians' sphere of influence on the western end of the island, some Carthaginians
made their homes in Syracuse on the eastern side. These Phoenicians were evidently
numerous and wealthy members of society: OUK 6Alyoi yap TOV KapXnrovikv OKOUV EV TaiO
lupaKoOoalq 6d5pdq EXOVTE KTFCTEIC, noMoi ~i KOi TCOV tpn6pcov EiXov Ev T)p Alptvl Tdq vaiO
yEpOUoaq (popTiWo, (14.46.1). The presence of Carthaginians in Syracuse and other Greek
cities should come as no surprise, since Carthage was essentially a timocracy and was
always ready to establish trading connections in foreign cities. The emphasis on trade
and wealth which dominated Carthaginian politics no doubt provided the impetus for
merchants to establish themselves in the wealthiest Greek city in Sicily. In fact, Diodorus
implies that Phoenician traders had also made residence in many other Greek cities, since
after Dionysius' expulsion of the Phoenicians from Syracuse, the other Greek states (oi
Ahooi IIKEAIiTalI, 14.46.2) cast out the Phoenicians living among them (Touqr nap' auToTq
oiKOOVTra TOV ()OIViKOV).
The city of Carthage accommodated several Greeks within its walls. The plague
on the Carthaginian army thought to have been caused by Himilco's sacrilege against the
temples of Demeter and Core (14.63.1) caused the citizens of Carthage to choose the
most prominent (XaplEcrr6Touq) Greeks and to appoint them as priests to Demeter and
Core, serving the goddesses according to Greek rituals (14.77.5). The presence of Greeks
in Carthage probably satisfied the city's trading interests, as they provided direct links to
Western Greek cities. Carthage was in the habit of importing a great deal of Greek goods
even in the fourth century and must have had a lively trade with other Greek states;
Diodorus supplies at least one example: Acragas' trading relations with Carthage,
13.81.4. Greeks and Greek culture must have been quite prevalent in the city to warrant
an edict from the Carthaginians forbidding Greek literacy, though the date of this law has
been disputed (Justin 20.5.13).
Archaeology has confirmed the cosmopolitan nature of Phoenician cities in Sicily.
Carthage's three main outposts on the island, Motya, Panormus, and Soloeis, all provide
examples of cultural sharing and non-native inhabitants. In Motya archaeologists have
found numerous Proto-Corinthian and Corinthian pots, a Doric capital, and archaic Greek
inscriptions, along with Attic black-figure and red-figure vases. This evidence led David
Asheri to postulate that half of the city's population was Greek.11 In Panormus a Punic
cemetery near Corso Calatafimi which archaeologists began excavating in 1953 has
revealed material of mixed Phoenician and Greek origin. In Soloeis two sarcophagi
which resemble eastern Phoenician sarcophagi and have two female figures with Greek
traits, one wearing a Doric chiton, have been found.12 The blend of Greek and eastern
elements in pottery is also well documented in both Sicily and Carthage itself. 13
The literary sources supplement the general picture of cosmopolitanism in Sicily
by providing several specific instances of Greeks and Carthaginians who had personal
connections or sympathies with the other side. Herodotus says that Hamilcar, a person of
considerable political weight in Carthage, in addition to being half-Greek, had friendship
(XEIvinv) with Terillus of Himera (7.165). The connection was strong enough that Terillus
was able to prevail upon Hamilcar to persuade Carthage to aid him in 480 against Gelon.
Even if the authenticity of Herodotus' Sicilian narrative in Book 7 is suspect, the story at
least demonstrates that such a friendship was not unthinkable in Herodotus' time.
Diodorus offers an example of a Greek who had favored the Carthaginians at the expense
of his Greek allegiance: when Hannibal sacked Selinus, he released Empedion along
with his kinsmen, d6i ydp TI KapXnSovkov rv nE(ppovQlKwq Kai npb Tr noAlopKiaq TOTD noA-Taic
GUlp3EIouAEuK6( pIr noAEpETv KapXnSoviouq (13.59.3). Not only does this story show that
prominent Greeks with Carthaginian sympathies could live unmolested even in cities at
1 Asheri (1988) 743-4.
12 Asheri (1988) 744-5.
13 Asheri (1988) 746; Piccard (1968) 110.
war with the Carthaginians, but it also implies that Carthaginians were in communication
with the Greek cities, since Hannibal knew that Empedion had always favored Carthage.
During his tyranny Dionysius tried to rouse anger against the Carthaginians,14 but
interpersonal relationships between Greeks and Carthaginians continued even after his
time. Dion had carried on some of Dionysius' embassies with Carthage for many years
and had evidently gained many friends. Having been exiled from Sicily, he later returned
from Athens, intending to overthrow Dionysius II. Dion's fleet encountered a heavy
storm and was forced to land near Minoa in a region controlled by the Carthaginians.
Fortunately for Dion, the expedition happened to come to anchor in a region under the
control of Synalus, a guest friend (voq ) KOi cpioqS, Plutarch Dion 25.12) of Dion's,
whom he had no doubt met when he was carrying on diplomatic relations at Carthage.
Synalus entertained and supplied Dion and his troops and allowed them to leave their
baggage with the Carthaginians while Dion made his expedition to Syracuse. Thus,
Dion, the student of Plato who had spent several years at Athens when Panhellenism had
begun to foster the "Greek vs. barbarian" motif, never forsook his personal relationships
with barbarians and he found his connections most useful during his time in the West.
The evidence from both literary and archaeological sources for ethnic interaction
in Sicily certainly supplements the picture of the political atmosphere as essentially
diverse and divided. As Jackman argues, identity in Sicily as revealed by burial sites was
very fragmented and localized in nature.15 In conjunction with other evidence which
suggests an interracial and bilingual environment, Jackman's findings provide more
support for a largely cosmopolitan atmosphere in Sicily, with no sharply defined ethnic
14 See below Chapter 4.
15 Jackman (2005).
boundaries. Greeks, native Sicilians, Carthaginians, and many other peoples lived side-
by-side in cities throughout the Greek, Carthaginian, Siceli, Sicani, and Elymi spheres on
the island. As the next chapter will show, this diversity was to be threatened by
Dionysius' anti-Carthaginian campaign, yet the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Sicily would
endure through his reign.
DIONYSIUS AND THE CARTHAGINIANS
The growing tide of Panhellenism from the mainland probably began to influence
the Siceliots in the late fifth and early fourth century, by the cosmopolitan atmosphere in
Sicily continued well into the fourth century. Nevertheless, ethnic perceptions began to
change significantly after the fall of the Syracusan democracy and the rise of Dionysius.
Diodorus may be criticized for his misleading portrayal of hostility between Greeks and
Carthaginians and depiction of the Carthaginians as the perpetual enemy of Greece in
Sicily, but the information he provides on Dionysius' attempts to foment fear of the
Carthaginians may be generally accepted. In the face of severe opposition to his rule
from neighboring Greek cities, indigenous inhabitants, and the Syracusan citizens
themselves, Dionysius needed an enemy to take the focus off his own autocratic regime.
He found this rival in Carthage and was at pains to increase the Greeks' fear of the
Phoenicians. This chapter will consider why Dionysius would have profited from dislike
of the Carthaginians and why the Greeks were disposed to fear and hate Carthage in 406
more than ever before. It will then consider Dionysius' actions intended to create this
fear and finally evaluate the success of his anti-Carthaginian policy.
One fact that probably encouraged Dionysius to set himself as the anti-
Carthaginian tyrant was that he began his political career and became the ruler of
Syracuse based on his role in the Carthaginian conflicts of 406. Dionysius grew up as a
relatively insignificant private citizen and made no appearance on the political scene of
Syracuse until his sudden rise in 405. He first became a character of importance during
the attack of Acragas and Gela, when the Carthaginians were relentlessly marching
towards Syracuse. In this Carthaginian campaign Dionysius, having already
distinguished himself in fighting the Carthaginians (Diod. 13.92.1), came to the fore as a
political player and eventually secured his own tyranny in Syracuse.
During the confusion and clamor that followed the sack of Acragas, Dionysius
made an appearance in the assembly to accuse the Syracusan generals of betraying the
city and accepting bribes from the Carthaginians (13.91.3). At this point the fears of the
citizens of Syracuse were no doubt great, since never before had they witnessed the
Carthaginians gain so many victories against Greek cities and march inexorably into the
eastern half of the island, which had been dominated by the Siceliots for so many years.
Here Dionysius saw his opportunity and played off the fears of the crowd in order to
assure his own position. This foundational period of Dionysius' career was very
significant for his later fame. Themistocles and Pausanias provide similar examples, as
both made their fame in the resistance to the Persian in 480-79 and were hailed by the
Greeks as instrumental parts of the defeat of the Mede. Likewise, Dionysius' reputation
and regime were founded on anti-Carthaginian concepts, since he had begun with a war
against Carthage. He therefore had the perfect opportunity from the beginning of his
career to establish himself as an anti-Carthaginian tyrant and to use the fear of the
Syracusans to stay in power.
Maintaining the facade of an anti-Carthaginian administration was also important
for Dionysius to transfer the citizens' focus from his own authoritarian government to the
Carthaginian threat. The Syracusan citizens adopted him to the same office as Gelon
(orpaT-ry6b atTOKpdTWp, 13.95.1) only in the most dire emergency of state and because of
the great fear of the Phoenician campaigning in Sicily. The Siceliots had probably never
faced a danger from the Carthaginians as real as that which followed the Athenian
expedition and certainly almost no one who had experienced the invasion of 480 was
alive to compare the situation in 409 and 406-5. The Carthaginians had pursued a
relatively laissez-faire policy in Sicily since the defeat at Himera in 480 and had stayed
out of Greek political affairs as much as possible. They had not been a threat to the
Greeks for a long time and their sudden reappearance on the Sicilian scene in 409 was no
doubt startling to most Sicilian Greeks. Hannibal invaded Sicily, quickly sacked Selinus,
and razed Himera, according to Diodorus sacrificing three-thousand Greeks to the shade
of his grandfather before returning to Carthage with his war booty. Hannibal began the
next wave of conquests with co-general Himilcar, continuing along the southern shore of
the island. They took Acragas and began to move on toward Gela, which was completely
unable to resist an army of the magnitude of the Carthaginian force. The quick
destruction of Selinus, Himera, and Acragas and the Phoenicians' penetration deep into
the Siceliot half of the island was so far unprecedented. At this time, when the
Syracusans could see the march of the enemy from the West along the coast from Selinus
to Acragas to Gela towards their own city, Dionysius was elected general.
The Syracusans, having experienced a long period of a relatively successful
democracy, were probably not so willing to throw away their constitutional government
and install an autocrat. Dionysius' tyranny was adopted in an extreme emergency of state
and was not an expression of the Syracusan citizens' desire to change their type of
government. Thus, Dionysius, having taken advantage of the state of war and secured his
tyranny, soon faced the discontent of the Syracusan citizen body, which became his most
significant obstacle in the first few years of his reign, and subsequently had to impose his
rule upon his fellow citizens. Even before the Carthaginian threat had withdrawn, the
tyrant faced internal opposition to his regime. Dionysius' Italian Greek mercenaries
deserted him after the battle at Gela, as did the Syracusan cavalry. These aristocrats rode
ahead of the main army and entered Syracuse, raped Dionysius' wife, and encouraged the
citizenry to revolt against him. Dionysius responded with a forced march to Syracuse,
catching the rebels off guard and slaying all his opponents (Diod. 13.112-113). After this
episode Dionysius, clearly understanding the hostility of many of the citizens, secured for
himself a personal bodyguard in the mold of Pisistratus of Athens. He then built a
massive fortress for himself on Ortygia (14.7.3) and created a fortification on Epipolae to
control the city (14.18). Creating a stronghold on the island proved to be a prudent move
for Dionysius, since soon afterwards his soldiers revolted against him and invited the
cavalry who had fled to Aetna following their revolt in 405 to join in the struggle against
the tyrant. Dionysius retreated to the safety of his fortress where he had time to plan
against the insurgents. He was finally able to reestablish his rule by hiring Campanian
mercenaries and advancing on the city unawares (14.8-9).
Thus, Dionysius faced considerable opposition from his own citizens, especially
in the early going of his regime. Just as he had made his start by exploiting the
Syracusans' fear of an outside enemy, he needed a common foe which would take the
citizens' focus off his own tyranny. Carthage was the obvious choice; it was certainly the
greatest threat to the Sicilian Greeks and Dionysius had made his reputation in fighting
the Carthaginians. Diodorus' account of Dionysius' actions in propagating hatred of the
Carthaginians is, therefore, believable, though elsewhere he may be justly censured for
exaggerating the hostile feeling between Greeks and Phoenicians. Dionysius had much
to gain from portraying the Carthaginians as the perpetual enemy of Syracuse.
Diodorus states that Dionysius began his second Punic war in 398 because he
noted that many Greek cities had deserted him and thought that a war against Carthage
would draw the Sicilian Greeks together under his rule (14.41.1). After his politically
motivated marriages to Doris of Locri and Aristomache of Syracuse,1 Dionysius gave a
speech, encouraging the Greeks to take a stand against the Carthaginians: dnocpaivcv
auTouq KaO6Aou pJV ToTi "EAArj(ov EXOPOTCTOUq 6v-raq, p6Aho-ra 5T ToTDq IKEAICaTOil 5id navT6q
tnipouAE6ovTra [...] dpa &S ouvio-ra SEiv6v ETvaI nEplopav Tad 'EAAqvi5aq n6AEiq In6 papp6ppov
KaTaO(5ou(AWpoEva, aq Eni TOOOUTOV GuvEnlAFlPJEOOGI TOV KIV(5UVWV, Ep' OOOV TIf tAEuOEpiaq
TuXETv nliupooiuiv (14.45.2, 4). After the meeting Dionysius ordered the citizens to expel
the Phoenicians who dwelt in Syracuse from the city and to plunder their property.
Following Syracuse's lead, other Sicilian Greek cities also drove out their Phoenician
inhabitants and took their property, which in some cities was evidently considerable, as
the Phoenicians had become wealthy through their trade connections (14.46.1-2). The
policy had immediate benefits for Dionysius, since Greek cities under Carthaginian rule
deserted to Dionysius or revolted against Punic rule soon after he declared war on
Carthage (14.46.3). Furthermore, as he made his march into the Western part of the
island, Dionysius received many reinforcements from Greek cities (14.47.5-6). After the
sack of Motya, Dionysius crucified Greeks who had fought on the side of the
Carthaginians, an Eastern punishment normally abhorrent to the Greeks. He thus clearly
demonstrated that he intended to be the sole leader of the Sicilian Greeks and that he
1 Dionysius took led the two maidens into matrimony simultaneously. He hoped that Doris would win him
an alliance with one of the foremost cities in southern Italy, while he took Aristomache in order to secure
his position in Syracuse.
considered those who fought for the Carthaginians traitors, putting them to death with an
appropriately Semitic punishment (14.53.4).2
Dionysius continued throughout his rule to stir up anti-Carthaginian feeling, going
to war with Carthage on numerous occasions and keeping the focus on the barbarian
outsider. He no doubt wanted to cast himself in the mold of Gelon, as a unifier of the
Greek cities in Sicily and also needed the presence of Carthage to provide his foil.
However, Dionysius never took the war with the Carthaginians to the next level,
expelling them from the island. Of course, in his expedition of 397 he penetrated deep
into the heart of the Phoenician sphere of the island, even sacking Motya and taking all
but a few of the western cities. But he certainly knew that the Carthaginians would not
stand idly by; they would send an expeditionary force which, once landed in Sicily,
would force him to make concessions. Under Himilco the Carthaginian army forced
Dionysius all the way back to the eastern shore to fight for the freedom of Syracuse itself.
Unfortunately for the Carthaginians, plague struck their camp and precipitated two
military defeats that wholly disheartened the army. Dionysius now had the Carthaginians
in an extremely vulnerable position. He negotiated with Himilco and accepted a sum of
three hundred talents, only allowing the Carthaginian citizen soldiers (ToqJ [...] noAITIKOUq,
14.75.2) to withdraw to Libya and forcing the mercenaries to stay behind, betrayed by
their employers. Despite Diodorus' censure of Dionysius for allowing the Carthaginians
off so easily, this was actually a shrewd and clever diplomatic move. The Carthaginian
army was weakened, but was not so devastated as to be at Dionysius' mercy. He could
not have been sure that another attack would meet with success, nor could he have dealt
2 Alexander the Great, also wanting to portray himself as the crusader for Hellas, imitated Dionysius after
the battle of the Granicus by sending all the Greeks who had fought for the Persians as slaves to Macedonia
(Hammond  76-7).
with the Carthaginians in unconditional terms. Furthermore, since the Carthaginians
generally sent few citizens along with their army, under the treaty only a small portion of
the force was able to withdraw, while the bulk of the army was left behind without
leadership, an easy target for Dionysius to annihilate. Also, since Himilco had manifestly
betrayed all his mercenaries and allies, these negotiations would hurt Carthage's
credibility in later wars and other soldiers would be more reluctant to join Carthage.3
Dionysius' ruse worked; he destroyed a large part of the mercenaries and took
many others into his service. Carthage's defeat and withdrawal also stimulated a revolt
among the Libyans, who were no doubt angry at Himilco's betrayal of their brethren.
This insurgence caused considerable alarm to the Carthaginian citizens, as the rebels
marched all the way to the gates of the city (14.77). Thus Dionysius had achieved a great
victory over the enemy while allowing them to continue to exist on the island. Dionysius
did indeed show that he had no desire to end the Carthaginian threat, for if Dionysius
intended to expel the Carthaginians from Sicily, this was the prime opportunity for the
Syracusans to finish the fight. Carthage's credibility on the island was mined, the
military forces had either been withdrawn, destroyed, or bought off by the Greeks, and
the city itself was being besieged by discontented Libyans. Yet, Dionysius used the
interlude to undertake a siege of Rhegium and extend his empire into Italy, fighting
against the Italian Greeks. Like Gelon and the other Deinomenids, Dionysius did not
show the desire to wipe the Carthaginian influence out of Sicily. Indeed, the complete
removal of the Carthaginian threat would have been against his own interests, since he
needed an external enemy to distract the people from disaffection with his own rule.
3 Caven (1990) 120-1.
In this examination of Dionysius' policy towards the Carthaginians it becomes
clear that Dionysius did succeed at least partially in uniting the Greeks against the
Phoenician threat. His portrayal of Carthage as the enemy of the Siceliots is especially
evident in the second of his Punic Wars. A testament to his creation of an anti-
Carthaginian sentiment among the Syracusans is the relative tranquility of his rule after
the Second Punic War. Though in the first few years of his reign Dionysius was forced to
fight his fellow citizens on several occasions, no significant civil discord after the second
war is recorded by Diodorus, who was always ready to point out the supposed hatred of
the citizens of Syracuse for the tyrant. However, Dionysius' policies probably did not
lead to a great Panhellenic feeling in Sicily comparable to the contemporary movement
that was taking place on the mainland. Though he no doubt had opportunities to
prosecute the war with Carthage to the point of their expulsion from the island, he never
took advantage, since he benefited from having the Carthaginian threat in the West as a
prop to his own tyrannical power. Dionysius' anti-Carthaginian rhetoric ultimately fell
flat, since he did not support his rhetoric and propaganda with his actions. Indeed, even
during the Second Punic War Himera and Cephaloedium allied with Carthage (14.56.2)
and after the war Carthage managed to bring the Italian Greek cities into a pact against
Dionysius (15.15). No doubt he successfully portrayed Carthage as the prime political
enemy to the Sicilian Greeks, but the Carthaginians did not become the decedent
barbarian enemies as the Persians had for the mainland Greeks. Sicily continued to be an
essentially cosmopolitan island with many different intermingling ethnicities.
THE VIEW FROM THE MAINLAND
Dionysius may have successfully portrayed Carthage as the political enemy of the
Syracusan Greeks, but he could not change the ethnically heterogeneous situation in
Sicily. The island was still composed of a great plethora of different cultural groups and
no clear-cut differentiation between the Greek "race" and the barbarians or Carthaginians
emerged. However, Greeks on the mainland had begun to develop the doctrine of
Panhellenism in the late fifth and fourth centuries and consequently began to view Greek
history in those terms. The Athenian sources especially betray a view of Sicilian history
as defined by the struggle of Greek and Carthaginian, though this idea was a
simplification of the actual situation on the island.
The seeds of the Hellenic consciousness can be found in the writings of
Herodotus, whose often-quoted passage concerning the Athenian response to the Spartan
attempt to dissuade them from allying with Persia provides some of the earliest evidence
for Panhellenic thought:
noAA6 TE y6p Kai pEy6Aa tOTr Tid aKwoAuoVTa TaU0Ta plr noltEIv qrl' I~v
9tUAWH Ev, np@Ta Pi V Kai p TyIoTra TOV OEjv Tb dydApIaTa Kai TQ oiK riaTa
pnEnprloCTJva TE Kai OUyKEXooP~ va, TOTolI riacq 6vayKaio0f XEi TIJCOPEIV tq TO
p ycrra JdAAov nEp 6pJoAoy~Ei TCp TaiTa pyaoatJ vpq, aUTIq 5: T 'EAAFVrIKOV
t6v 6paipj6v TE Kai 6p6yAw)OOOV Kai OEjv i6pupaT6 TE KOIV6 Kai Ouoial i E6 TE
6p6Tpona, TOv npo56Taq yEvEoTaI Aqrvaiou; OUK 6V Elj Xoi (8.144.2).
As Hall states, many scholars have considered this passage from Herodotus the definition
of Hellenic identity.1 Another indicator that Panhellenic doctrine goes back to the mid
fifth century is the summons of Pericles to all the Hellenes for the purpose of deciding
1 Hall (2002) 189-90.
what they should do about the sanctuaries destroyed by the Persians, to offer sacrifices
and to make peace among the Greeks (Plut. Pericles 17.1). However, Panhellenism
really crystallized in the minds of some of the literati in the late fifth and early fourth
centuries with the works of Gorgias, Lysias, and, most prominently, Isocrates.
During the reign of Dionysius mainland Greeks became even more acutely aware
of the contrasts between Greeks and barbarians, since after the end of the Peloponnesian
War the Spartans proved themselves betrayers of Hellas in the eyes of many. Sparta
immediately began ruling the Greek cities under its control with heavy hand and paid
home to the Persian king, eventually concluding the Peace of Antalcidas in 387. Thus,
Isocrates attacks the Spartans in the Panegyricus for razing Mantinea after they had
signed a truce, seizing Cadmea, and besieging Olynthus and Phlius while they assisted
enemies of Hellas: Amyntas, Dionysius, and the Persian king (126). The betrayal of
Sparta no doubt also reflected badly on Syracuse in view of their Dorian kinship and
alliance with Sparta. Hence, during Dionysius' rule (405-367) Panhellenism was coming
into its own on the continent, and the foremost Athenian proponents of this doctrine were
deeply conscious of the perceived Spartan treachery.
The influence of Panhellenism and anti-barbarian sentiment on the mainland
Greeks' perception of Sicilian affairs is evident in contemporary writings. The Platonic
Epistles addressed to the Sicilian rulers, a partially preserved speech of Lysias criticizing
Dionysius' Olympic entourage (33), and Isocrates' speeches reveal the impact of
Panhellenic thought on their viewpoints. They evidence the concept of definite
boundaries between Greeks and barbarians and the idea that Greeks are naturally enemies
of barbarians and should unite in the common cause against them. Thus, these sources
view the fundamental aspect of Sicilian politics as the perpetual conflict between Greek
and Carthaginian and therefore often arrive at a very negative picture of Dionysius, who
never undertook a crusade to oust the barbarians from Sicily.
In Plato's second letter the author clearly understands the events in Sicily as
connected with Hellas a whole. He states that under his authority he would have
improved the situation in Syracuse and brought benefits to all the Greeks: Ei yap ipXov
tyoo OiOT TG V TE MAAov Kai Goo Kai Aikovo, nAei co av v iTV TE ndalv 6yaO0 ToTq TE lMOI
"EMArolv (3 10c). Again in the third letter the author connects the welfare of Syracuse and
Greece, asserting that if Dionysius had recalled Dion he would have done well for both
Syracuse and Greece: iv Ei Ipoi T6TE EnEiOou, T6X' 6V PATIOV TGOV vOv YEYOV6TCOV ocXEV Kai ooi
Kai 'upaKOUoaIc Kai ToTiq Moic "EMAArov (317e). In accordance with Panhellenism, Plato
clearly saw Sicily as a fundamental part of Hellas, intimately wrapped up in the welfare
of the whole.2 This view of the Greeks in Sicily as part of the universal Greek ge/noj
would naturally lead to the concept of the Carthaginians and other barbarians of Sicily as
outsiders who must be repulsed.
Not surprisingly, the epistles show that Plato has extended the "Greek vs.
barbarian" theme of the mainland to his understanding of the events in Sicily. The author
accuses Dionysius of being unable to establish loyal comrades in cities which had been
destroyed by the non-Greeks (33le-332a). The tyrant should have rebuilt these cities so
that they would join him in the struggle against the barbarians: 6aTE alUTC TE oiKEiaO Kai
6MdAAalq EivaO np6q TCq TCOV papp6pov poqn0Laq (332e). Plato expresses the expectation that
Dionysius would unite the Greeks cities into a Hellenic alliance so that he might enslave
2 Plato states also that many mainland Greeks are very concerned with Sicilian events (310d, 320d, 335d).
This would explain the importance of the Sicilian tyrants as an icon of the Hellenic fight against barbarians.
the Carthaginian enemies (SouAcoaoeal KapXqr5oviouq, 333a), but is disappointed that just
the opposite happened: Dionysius has paid tribute (cp6pov) to the barbarians.
In the defense of Dion later in the seventh letter, Plato states that Dion would have
done his utmost to free Sicily from barbarian influence by conquering and expelling
them: naaav IIKEOav KaTOIKi EIV KIa tAEueOpav dn6 TCOV papp6pov noieTv, TOUq p v EK3P6AAWV,
TOUq ~i XEIPOUjPEVOq N(ov 'ltpcOvoq (336a). This passages shows that the author considered
the removal of the Carthaginians from the island one of the primary goals of the Greek
rulers of Sicily. Plato also states that Dion would have done these things, had he come to
power, thus implying that he considered Dionysius a failure in this respect. The idea that
Dion would have liberated Syracuse from tyranny and barbarians permeates the seventh
letter, tacitly condemning the Dionysii for their un-Greek government and foreign policy.
In the eighth letter these two threats to Greek freedom are paired again at the
beginning of the letter: T60' 6TE KiV5UVOq EyEVETO E9XaTOq IKEAhi Tfl TOV 'EAA!ivcv 6jn6
KapXrSoviov 6v6craTov 6Aqrv Kp3appapcoET1av yEvEoMal. TOTE yap E'IAovTO AIovuolov (353a).
Plato here connects Dionysius with his pretended anti-Carthaginian policy, understanding
that the origin of his tyranny was in the Punic Wars of 406-5. The author denounces
Dionysius' tyranny in Sicily, especially because Dionysius was either unwilling or unable
to drive the Carthaginians out of Sicilian cities. Indeed, the letter shows great fear of the
Carthaginian enemy and calls on all Greeks to oppose their actions in Sicily: iEI M5,
E6vnEp TCV EiK6TWOV yiyvrTOai TI Kai dnEUKTcV, oXE(oV Eiq EpqPiav Tfi 'EAA VIKfi (pWOVfilq IKEAiO
ndaa, (olviKCOV r 'OnlKV PJETapaAouoa Ei' TIVa 5uvaoTEiav Kai KpaTOq. TOUTCOV ai Xpi n6on
npoOupig n6vTaq TOU~q "EAArvaq TEJVEIV (cppJaKOv (353e). Plato no doubt seriously
overestimates the Carthaginian threat, since they were not interested in embarking on a
costly war to expel the Greeks completely from Sicily. After the Athenian expedition
Carthage felt threatened because Syracuse had emerged as a very powerful state, having
repulsed the Athenian expedition and brought most of Greek Sicily under its hegemony.
The Carthaginians therefore pursued a vigorous war against Syracuse in order to curtail
Syracuse's increasing power which might have threatened Phoenician commercial
supremacy. Yet, Carthage had maintained a lively trade with Greece and the complete
subjugation of the Sicilian Greeks was probably never part of Carthaginian policy, for
they desired only to continue their trade in Sicily and not to dominate it militarily. This
letter of Plato, then, shows a misunderstanding of Sicilian affairs and has generalized the
threat of Carthage as that of a barbarian state seeking the dominance of Greek-speakers.
The author has superimposed the doctrine of Panhellenism on Sicily and understood the
events in terms of "Greek vs. barbarian," though the actual situation in Sicily was very
Another primary witness to mainland perceptions of Dionysius is Lysias'
Olympic speech which Dionysius of Halicamassus partially quotes (Lys. 33). Diodorus
also attests this oration by Lysias at the Olympic games in 388, though he does not quote
the speech, only stating that Lysias urged the Greeks not to admit Dionysius'
representatives (14.108.3). Like the Platonic epistles, Lysias depicts the Sicilian Greeks
as intimately connected with Hellas as a whole and also connects Dionysius' rule with the
barbarian enemy. He states that many parts of Greece are under the control of barbarians
and tyrants, certainly referring to Dionysius with the latter term and associating him with
the Persian king: oiTWOG aioxpjS 50aKEPlIvrlV TIjv 'EAA50a, Kai noAAbd pV auTf 6rVTa O n6 Trp
papp6dpc, noMAAdS ~ n6AElq; n6 Tup6waov vaooTTou; yEyEvrlpJvaq (3). Lysias also
specifically compares the fleet of Dionysius to the fleet of the king of Persia and seems to
view them both as enemies to Greece (5). Again, he equates Dionysius and the Persian
king in warning the Greeks to take action against the forces of both their enemies (ai
5uv6pEiC 6dppOT-pcov, 8). He exhorts his listeners to remember their ancestors who fought
against the barbarians and encourages them to do the same: npb6 TOUq npoy6vouq, oi TOUq
piv papp6pouq tnoiqroav Tfi 6AoTpiaq tniOupoOvTraq Tfq ocpETupaq aiuT@v c-.TEpEToaI, TOUq ~i
Tup6wouq EA6GOavTEc KOIVfrV dnaol TrIV tAEuGOpiav KaTEGTfoav (6).
The comparison of Dionysius and the Persian king has a parallel in the seventh
epistle, where Plato juxtaposes Dionysius and Darius, depicting them both in the role of
the stereotypical tyrant which became a popular subject of fourth century literature
(332a). Lysias also constantly pairs the threat from Dionysius with that of the Persian
king in the East and bemoans the subjugation of Greek cities to barbarians. Thus, both
authors present the association of Dionysius with a barbarian ruler and grieve over the
subjugation of Greek cities to barbarian rule. Perhaps Lysias, like Plato in the Epistles,
condemns Dionysius' halfhearted efforts at the liberation of the Siceliots from the
Carthaginian yoke. Lysias consistently mentions Dionysius in comparison with the
barbarian enemy and treats him as if he himself were not Greek or at the very least a
betrayer of Hellas.
Isocrates, at first favorably disposed towards Dionysius (Nic. 23; Epistulae 1) and
later antagonistic (Paneg. 126),3 provides further evidence for the association of
Dionysius and barbarians. In the Archedamus Isocrates praises Dionysius for his
fortitude in fighting the Carthaginians, stating that he killed many thousands of
3 The change of Iscrates' opinion may have been due to the gap between Dionysius' propaganda and his
actual policies. Dionysius would have been an attractive prospect to lead a Panhellenic crusade in the
earlier part of his regime, when he was portraying himself as the champion of Greeks against Carthage, but
when it became clear that the Carthaginians were simply a means for the maintenance of his power,
Panhellenic sympathizers no doubt took a decidedly more negative view of the tyrant.
Carthaginians (noAAd p&iv pupid6aq Kapxnrloviov S~cpOEIpEv, 45). Even this positive
account of Dionysius shows that he was evaluated in relation to the slaying of barbarian
enemies. Another passage from Philip reveals the association of Dionysius and the
Persian king once again, showing that both Dionysius and Cyrus rose from obscure birth
to become rulers of entire regions (65-6). Also, Isocrates attacks the Spartans in the
Panegyricus for razing Mantinea after they had signed a truce, seizing Cadmea, and
besieging Olynthus and Phlius while they assisted enemies of Hellas: Amyntas,
Dionysius, and the Persian king (126). The presence of Dionysius in the list of the
wrongful alliances which the Spartans had concluded with barbarians indicates what
Isocrates and others favorable to his message thought about the Sicilian tyrant.
These passages from mainland authors exhibit the consequences of Panhellenic
thought on Greeks' perceptions of Sicilian events. Although, as was argued in chapters
1-4, a consciousness of a specifically Greek identity was much less developed in Sicily
than in other parts of the Greek world, nevertheless mainlanders tended to view the
Siceliots' actions in terms of the struggle between Greeks and barbarians. Therefore,
Plato, Lysias, and Isocrates evaluated Dionysius based on his expulsion of the barbarians
and unification of the Greeks of Sicily and southern Italy. His apparent failure in both
respects contributed substantially to the hostile picture of the tyrant which has come
down through the works of these authors.
BARBARIANS IN THE SOURCES
The previous section has argued that the contemporary literati on the mainland,
especially Athenians, took a view of Sicilian affairs that reflected the Panhellenic
sentiments which were gaining credence in Greece during the fourth century. The
historical tradition concerning fourth century Sicily, shows some signs of emphasizing
the same themes, that is, the continual portrayal of the Greek-Carthaginian conflicts as
the defining political event on the island. Though the evidence for the fragmentary
histories is naturally quite slender, an examination of the primary fourth century writers
and Diodorus Siculus provides some information which suggests that these historical
authors viewed the history of Sicily out of its context, overemphasizing the differences
between Greeks and barbarians that were much weaker than supposed.
Of the ten pre-Diodorean historians who wrote about Dionysius, six (Dionysius
himself, Alcimus Siculus, Hermias of Methymna, Athanis of Syracuse, Polycritus of
Mende, and Silenus of Caleacte) have left almost nothing by which their work might be
appraised.1 Only concerning Philistus, Ephorus, Theopompus, and Timaeus do we
possess sufficient evidence to speculate on their writings and lives. Diodorus certainly
made use of all these authors, but his primary source has remained a matter of speculation
among scholars. Laqueur has argued that Diodorus relied mostly on Ephorus, while
1 For a summary of what is know about these authors, see Sanders (1987) 41 ff.
Stroheker and Pearson reject this thesis and assert that Timaeus was his chief source.2
Sanders disagrees that Diodorus' main source was mostly hostile to Dionysius and
instead proposes that Philistus' monograph, nepi AIovuaCou, is the foundation of Diodorus'
narrative.3 However, the argument concerning which of these authors provided Diodorus
with most of his Sicilian history will become irrelevant to the present thesis, since all can
be shown to have been exposed to and possibly influenced by Panhellenic doctrine and
mainland conceptions of Sicilian affairs. Therefore, no matter which source Diodorus
used for his history, we can be sure that he could have inherited the "Greek vs. barbarian"
flavor from any of them.
Philistus, a wealthy aristocrat who supported Dionysius' regime from its
inception, began composing his nlpi Alovuaiou during Dionysius' lifetime. This historian
was an inner member of Dionysius' ruling circle, but his history was probably not as pro-
Dionysius as some have supposed. Nepos states that Philistus was more of a friend to
tyranny than to any particular tyrant (amicum non magis tyranno quam tyrannidi, Dion
3), thus marking him as a tyrannophile, not simply a lackey of Dionysius.4 His history of
Dionysius' reign was probably more of a treatise on tyranny than a panegyric of
Dionysius, as Sanders has points out, and therefore could be expected to contain criticism
of Dionysius.5 Philistus was also exiled by Dionysius and may not have been recalled,6
2 Laqueur (1937); Stroheker (1952); Pearson (1984).
3 Sanders (1981), (1987) 81-2.
4 Sanders (1987) 50-2; Pearson (1987) 24-5.
5 Sanders (1981) 399.
6 Diodorus states that Dionysius recalled Philistus shortly after his exile (15.7.3). Sanders (1987) believes
that version of Plutarch (Dion 11.4) and Nepos (Dion 3.2), an exile which extended until the death of the
tyrant, is more credible (44-6). Cf. Pearson (1987) 20-21.
so the history of Dionysius' rule could likely have contained some material unflattering
to the tyrant.
Diodorus states that Philistus spent his exile in Thurii (15.7.4). If this is true,
Philistus would have come into contact with an increased degree of Panhellenic sentiment
while he continued to work on his history. The city of Thurii was actually a Panhellenic
foundation with participants from Sybaris and many other mainland cities (Diod. 12.10.4-
5), while Athens claimed the leading role and therefore probably had the strongest
connections with the Italian outpost. The collaboration of many different Greek peoples
in the foundation of Thurii may very well have left its mark on the inhabitants, who lived
and worked together in a common Greek identity. Furthermore, if Philistus continued his
work in Thurii, being part of the educated elite, he would have encountered Athenians
and the writings of Athenians at the time when Panhellenism was its strongest. Thurii
was essentially an Athenian colony and enjoyed connections with the mainland city by
which the literati benefited. Even if Sanders is correct in arguing that the story of
Philistus' exile in Thurii is erroneous and that he actually spent his exile in Epirus (Plut.
De Exil. 605C),7 the historian may well have had closer contact with mainland literature
and Panhellenism in Epirus, considering his residence in a mainland city.
Though very little is known about Philistus, the sources do provide some evidence
which suggests that Philistus was especially concerned with Dionysius' relations with
Greeks and barbarians. Philistus' political alliance with Dionysius' brother, Leptines,
may be the first indicator. Dionysius exiled Philistus because of a marriage alliance
between the aristocrat and Leptines (Plut. Dion 11.4), since his marriage would have
threatened the security of Dionysius' family. That Leptines would attempt to associate
7 Sanders (1987) 44-6.
himself with Philistus by family ties shows that they had developed a strong enough
connection to attempt to oppose Dionysius' will. Diodorus' story of Leptines' and
Philistus' parallel exile, stay at Thurii, and return also preserves the tradition of a political
alliance between the two men, whether the account is true or invented.8 Diodorus also
states that the Italiots welcomed Leptines and Philistus, which may hint at the two
Siceliots' sympathies with the Greeks of southern Italy (15.7.4).
The alliance between Leptines and Philistus shows the historian in league with a
strong pro-Italiot and enemy of Carthage. Leptines fought against the Carthaginians on
numerous occasions and later became famous for his glorious death during Dionysius'
third war against Carthage (15.17). He also opposed Dionysius' military actions against
the Italiots and even interceded for an Italian Greek army against the barbarian
Lucanians, shirking Dionysius' express command, for which he was relieved of his post
by Dionysius (14.102.1-3). Thus, the exile of both men at the beginning of Dionysius'
ventures into southern Italy may have been due to their opposition to Dionysius' policies
in pursuing war against his fellow Greeks. If Sanders is correct in arguing that Philistus
was Diodorus' chief source for Sicilian history during Dionysius' rule,9 then Diodorus'
narrative provides further confirmation of this idea. The account of the first and second
wars against Carthage are extremely favorable to Dionysius, portraying him as the
popular leader against the Carthaginians, while the following accounts of his wars against
Italian Greeks are very negative and include anecdotal stories, such as the Rhegians' offer
to Dionysius of the hand of the executioner's daughter (14.106.2-3) and Dionysius'
barbaric torture of Phyton and his son after the capture of Rhegium (14.112). Quite
8 Sanders (1987) 55-6.
9 Sanders (1981), (1987) 81-2.
possibly Philistus backed Dionysius in 405 as a strong leader who opposed the
Carthaginian invasion and supported him in his subsequent campaigns against the
Phoenician presence, but he began to criticize Dionysius when he turned his war machine
from Carthage to Italy and he thereafter included his anti-Carthaginian and pro-Greek
sentiments in his writings.
Ephorus, a native Italiot who has been widely considered the main source of
Diodorus' fourth century narrative,10 also probably concerned himself with the interplay
of Greeks and barbarians during Dionysius' rule. He received his schooling under
Isocrates, the foremost proponent of the Panhellenic movement, and according to
Polybius was the first to compose a universal history, connecting Greeks all over the
world through his comprehensive approach (5.33.2). Ephorus has been shown to have a
distinct pro-Athenian bias, which is significant considering that city's prominence in the
development of Panhellenic thought.11 His education, methodology of historical writing,
and Athenian sympathies suggest that Ephrous would have been particularly predisposed
to view history in the terms of "Greeks vs. barbarians." In the case of Sicily, his repeated
inflation of the numbers of non-Greek troops arrayed against the Siceliots (in comparison
with Timaeus') may have been an attempt to stress the threat of the barbarians of the
West and to connect Sicilian Greek victories over non-Greeks with the universal Greek
experience. 12 Further, more negative angle on the contrast between Greeks and
barbarians is apparent in his comparison of Dionysius II with the king of Persia (F 211).
10 Sacks (1990); Laqueur (1937).
11 Barber (1935).
12 Sanders (1987) 74.
Theopompus, like Ephorus, flourished several decades after Dionysius' death,
when Panhellenism had taken hold on the mainland and Greeks had begun to view
history in terms of Greeks and non-Greeks. He too was a pupil of Isocrates (FGrH T 1,
5a), no doubt absorbing much of the great orator's Panhellenic doctrine during his
tutelage. Following Ephorus, Theopompus wrote a universal history which connected
Greeks of the entire world within a single narrative and probably made the clear
demarcation between Greeks and barbarians (Tdq TE TOV 'EAAMrVov Kai papp6pov npdEiq,
FGrH F 25) which was becoming the standard by his time. Though we know very little
about both Ephorus and Theompompus, their association with Isocrates and position in
late fourth century Greece speak for themselves; they would have been quite conscious of
the conflict between Greeks and barbarians and their histories no doubt reflected that.
Whether they were hostile to Dionysius or favorable is a matter of debate, but it can be
reasonably surmised that that they were conscious of a demarcation between Greeks and
barbarians and that their writings reflected this premise.
The evidence for the last major pre-Diodorean historian of Dionysius, Timaeus of
Tauromenium, is more secure than the sources for the previous three. The son of
Andromachus and an avid supporter of Timoleon, Timaeus praised both Andromachus
and Timoleon excessively, while in his histories he denounced the later tyrants of Sicily,
Dionysius, Dionysius II, and Agathocles. Like Philistus, Ephorus, and Theompompus,
Timaeus had a connection with the mainland, though he was a native of Sicily. He spent
fifty years at Athens (FGrHF 34) during which time he did the bulk of his writing. In
the course of his stay at Athens he certainly would have had access to other Sicilian
historians with Panhellenic sentiments, most notably Philistus, from whom Timaeus drew
most of his information about Dionyusius.13 In fact, it is quite likely that Timaeus was
more concerned with affairs of Greeks and barbarians on Sicily than any of the previous
three Sicilian historians, since one of his main programs was to establish Sicily as the
chief preserve of Hellas. Indeed, Timaeus received criticizing from Polybius for his
extreme patriotism (12.26) and he probably exaggerated the numbers of armies opposed
to the Siceliots in order to show their achievement.14 Timaeus also praised Gelon
excessively, despite his dislike for tyrants, as part of his attempt to have Himera
recognized as the Salamis or Plataea of the West and therefore to equate the struggle of
the Sicilians against the Carthaginians with that of the mainland Greeks against the
Persians (Polyb. 12.26). Timaeus desired to reveal a perpetual struggle between the
Greeks and the Carthaginians in Sicily in order to demonstrate the Siceliots' contribution
to Hellenism in the West by keeping the Phoenician foe at bay.
Other evidence suggests that Timaeus condemned Dionysius for his inability or
unwillingness to subdue the Carthaginians during his own rule. Timaeus supplants
Philistus' version of a dream predicting Dionysius' greatness with an ominous dream of a
lady from Himera, who sees that Dionysius would play a part in the downfall of Greek
Sicily (FGrH F 29). The choice of a Himeran is certainly significant, for it recalls the
destruction of Himera by Hannibal and thus the injurious expeditions of the
Carthaginians through the Greek sphere of Sicily. Timaeus suggests that the advent of
Dionysius would bring to the Siceliots ruin and enslavement to the Carthaginians,
echoing the sentiments of Theodorus' speech in the narrative of Diodorus, which is
13 Sanders (1987) 81-2.
14 Pearson (1987) 43.
certainly derived from Timaeus (14.65-69). Timaeus implied a similar idea in his
account of Euripides' birth and death. He equated Euripides with the greatest period of
classical Greece,15 stating that he was born on the day the battle Salamis was fought and
died on the day that Dionysius was born (FGrHF 105). Clearly the implication is that
the day of Salamis, which was the eastern equivalent of Himera, brought freedom to the
Greeks in both East and West from barbarian enslavement, while Dionysius' birth ended
the great period of Greek freedom which had existed during Euripides' life.
The extant information concerning Philistus, Ephorus, Theopompus, and Timaeus
suggests that these historians were conscious of Greek identity to a greater degree than
the Sicilian Greeks and that they probably attempted to portray conflict between Syracuse
and Carthage in terms of the larger struggle between Greeks and barbarians.
Consequently, these writers may also have depicted Dionysius as a very un-Greek ruler
because of his unwillingness to subdue the barbarians. Diodorus' narrative will show that
his history of Dionysius' times, the first fully extant account, demonstrates a tendency to
exaggerate the ill will between Greeks and barbarians in Sicily. Probably drawing much
of this theme from his primary sources (Philistus, Ephorus, Theopompus, and Timaeus),
Diodorus portrays the Carthaginian wars and the ethnic conflict between Phoenician and
Greek as a fundamental characteristic of Sicilian history.
When the Carthaginians reentered the Sicilian political scene in 409 after a
seventy year period of abstaining from intervention, Diodorus was prepared to describe
their reemergence within the scope of the perceived deep-seated animosity between
Greeks and barbarians. Hannibal, who led the expeditionary force against the Greeks,
15 Pearson (1987) 157.
was of course a hater of Greeks by nature (Kai cp6OEI plotIAv, 16 13.43.6) bent on taking
vengeance on the Siceliots for his grandfather's defeat. In this case the reader is
surprised to find out that Hannibal in fact had Greeks in his army (13.57.3). In addition,
Hannibal himself must have had at least some Greek blood in him, if he was truly
descended from Hamilcar the half-Greek (Diod. 13.53.5; Herod. 7.165). Furthermore,
Hannibal initially tried to avoid conflict with the Greeks, sending ambassadors to
Syracuse to resolve the dispute and by Diodorus' own admission trying to stay away from
conflict with the Syracusans (13.43.6). Contrary to Diodorus implication, neither
Hannibal nor the Carthaginians were interested in pursuing an ethnic war against the
Greeks in Sicily or they would have already taken advantage of the disunity and civil
wars of the Greeks in the seventy years between the battle of Himera and the sack of
Selinus. Carthage did not undertake the war in 409 because they wanted to destroy the
Greek race or because Hannibal, their foremost citizen, had an obsessive desire to wipe
out Hellenic influence on the island. Carthage's trade hegemony on the island was
threatened when Syracuse emerged as the dominant power after the Athenians'
expedition and Segesta, an Elymian ally of Carthage deep in the western sphere of
Carthaginian influence, was under attack from the Greeks of Selinus. Therefore,
Diodorus' attribution of Hannibal's hatred of Greeks as the primary motivation for his
Sicilian campaigns is probably due to the tendency of later authors to portray historical
events through the lenses of their own biases and does not reflect the actual situation of
the fourth century.
Diodorus is always ready to include rhetorical passages on the hatred between
Greeks and Carthaginians, making it seem as though the distinction between the two was
16 This word was probably an especially strong one, as it occurs in Diodorus only here.
ancient and clear-cut. The narrative frequently plunges into descriptions of butchery
which were no doubt motivated by the false of the notion of intense hatred between
Greeks and barbarians in late fifth and early fourth century Sicily. No where is this
technique more apparent than in the descriptions of the sacking of various Greek cities.
When Hannibal took Selinus, Diodorus states:
oi &: ToTi EuljPEpripaoI EnqppIJvol ocp6Tr-iv napEKEAEuoVTO. [...] TCOV 5
tyKaTaArq(cp0 r( v OW(IjTWco V di p~ TaTc OiKKiaO ouyKaTtKaIov, TCOV 6' Eic TdC
65ou PI3a(oplJVCO oi 56aKpivovTEC OiTTE (P6luav oi6' r~IKiav, dAA' 6pokoc; naia
vrniouc, yuvaTKaq, npeopuTaqc; p6vveuov, ou5 EJiav oupnd6 Iav Aapp6voVTE;.
liKpCoTTpiKaov 5: Kai TOU(; VEKpOU; KaTI T6 n6Tplov 0OCq, Kai TIVEC piv XETpaq
6dp6aq nEpiEcpEpov ToiT oc 0aol, TIViS 5& KE(paAdQC ni TGOV yaioov Kai TOV
oauviov dvanEipovTEC E(pEpov. [...] TooOUTO ybp CbjO66TrnTI ~IipEpOV oi 6pp3apol
TCOV 6McOV, )(rTE TOGV AoinGv EVEKa TOO pjrlEv 6oE3ETIV Eic T6O aip6viov
iaoo(6vTcov TOU;i Eic Td iEp6 KaTanE(pEUy6Tac KaPXrn6viol TouvavTiov
d6noXovTo TOV noAEpkov, 6n(co TOU( TGV OEGv vaoOc; ouGArGEIav. [...] ndS; qv
T6no ; ai'JaTO Kai VEKpCov nAiprl. [...] ai p~v yuvaTKEd ; oGTEprlqPval Tri
ouvriOouC TpucpI; v noAE~piov iV pel IEVUKTrpEuov, unopjvouoail EIVdc
TaAancopiac: cv Evial OuyaTtpaq tnly6pouC 6pdv rIvayK6(OVTO naoxouoac OUK
oiKETa T C rAIlKiac (13.57.1-3, 5-6; 58.1).
Diodorus describes the sack of Himera in similar terms: KaTd KpdTOq oiv dAouoqq Tfi
n6AEcoc, tni noA~v Xp6vov oi P6ppapol n6vTraq cp6vEuov TU0CJ KaTaAaJpavoP iVOU 6doupnaO00
(13.62.3). After the Carthaginians' murder of many of the remaining inhabitants of the
city, Hannibal dragged the survivors outside the city walls and sacrificed them to the
manes of Hamilcar: TOv 5' aiXpaAhcbTCv yuvaTKaO Kai naiaq(5 ia5o0Sq Eiq T6 oTpaT6nd5ov
napEcpuAaTrE, TCOV 5' 6vapGv TU0~ 6A6VTraq Ei TploXyIAouc ovrTaq napr6yayEv Eni T6V Tonov, &v cp
np6TEpov ApIiKaC; 6 ndnnoc aOTOu unb r6Acovo 6dvnpprl, Kai n6vTrac aiKIoCTPEVOC KaTt(OpaEV
(13.62.4). The inhabitants of Gela, having learned of the sack of Selinus, Himera, and
Acragas, were quite aware of the Carthaginians' savagery: ou05 ia yap iv nap' aOToTq
(cpE lb TCOV 6AIKOPIJVCo, 6dA' doupnaO(c TOV ITuXqlKoTWV o0 piv 6VEoOrapouv, oTq 5'
6apopriTOuc; fnyov OppEIc (13.111.4).
In this way Diodorus describes the awful destruction of these cities as a result of
the Carthaginians' hatred for the Greeks. These stories, however, have more of the
appearance of embellished folktale than recorded history. If the survivors of such terrible
atrocities escaped to Italian Greek cities as Diodorus states (13.91.1), it seems unlikely
that the Italiots would ally with Carthage against the Sicilian Greeks (15.15.2). The
ruthless destruction of Himera would also make an alliance between the Carthaginians
and the Himerans just a decade letter quite improbable (14.56.2). Diodorus certainly
exaggerates the Carthaginians' evil deeds in the sack of these Greek cities. The
movement of populations and razing of cities actually had a parallel in earlier Sicilian
history, as Gelon had destroyed three Greek cities and moved numerous peoples from
their lands.17 Therefore, no ethnic hatred needs to be envisioned in Hannibal's campaign
in Sicily; his actions against Greek cities had a precedent with the most renowned of
Diodorus' narrative displays the same tendencies of the mainland authors and the
fragmentary historians to perceive Sicilian events in Panhellenic terms, portraying the
war between Syracuse and Carthage as an ethnic conflict. However, the rhetorical
passages which present the animosity between Greeks and Carthaginians are often at
variance with information provided elsewhere in the text and are therefore suspect.
Diodorus certainly attempted to represent Carthage as the Persia of the West, even in an
alliance with the great king against the Greek race.18 His view of the ethnic and cultural
situation in Sicily is therefore tainted by his own thematic concerns, since the notion that
Carthaginians and Greeks in Sicily were naturally and pointedly hostile to one another
17 Asheri (1988) 769-70.
18 Randall-Macver (1970) 90.
does not agree with the evidence which was presented in chapters 1-4. In fact Greek
identity in fourth century Sicily was much less developed than on the mainland or during
later periods of Sicilian history. The views of these authors result from superimposing
Panhellenic doctrine on the essentially fragmented and heterogeneous ethnic situation in
THE HOSTILE TRADITION
The situation in Sicily in the fourth century was very different from the
perceptions of mainland authors and other historians. Chapters 1-4 attempted to
demonstrate that ethnic identity in Sicily was quite weak and that a high degree of
multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism dominated the political and social scene on the
island. Chapters 5 and 6 showed that other Greek authors who were exposed to the
doctrine of Panhellenism and the growing consciousness of Greeks in the East viewed the
situation in Sicily as essentially dominated by the conflict between Greeks and non-
Greeks. Since all the authors who wrote about fourth century Sicily were influenced by
their perception of history as a struggle between Greeks and barbarians, this view
permeated the historiographical and anecdotal tradition.
Dionysius, though certainly an outstanding ruler in many respects, appeared a
very poor head of state when evaluated for his success in driving out the non-Greek
inhabitants of Sicily. Other Greeks knew that he had clearly portrayed himself as the
defender of the Siceliots against Carthage (as had his associate Philistus)1 and thus they
found fault with him for being unwilling to finish the war against the Carthaginians and
for at times postponing his campaigns to attack his fellow Greeks. Dionysius clearly
used the Carthaginian threat to maintain fear of the enemy among the Syracusan citizen
body and to preserve his own power. His apathy in fighting the barbarians surely
frustrated Panhellenic theorists, who had once looked to him to lead the Panhellenic
1 Sanders (1987) 51-2.
crusade against the barbarians. Therefore, Dionysius probably gained the reputation of
being a barbarophile or at least an un-Greek ruler, which supplemented the hostile
depiction of him as the stereotypical paranoid tyrant.2
Sicilian Greeks continued to have a much weaker sense of identity than the
Greeks on the mainland. They still mingled with other ethnic groups throughout the
island, trading and interacting with them. Dionysius, a native Siceliot, probably did not
understand the conflict between Syracuse and Carthage as an essentially ethnic war, nor
did the other inhabitants of Sicily. Dionysius portrayed himself as the defender of
Syracuse against the Carthaginian state, not the Phoenician race, and did attempt to
curtail its influence on the island. However, he did not see the Punic wars as a perpetual
racial struggle for dominance of the island as other mainland Greeks did. Thus, his
actions reflect the policies of a monarch concerned with the extension of his rule and
maintenance of power, not a betrayer of Panhellenism, for such a concept had not fully
developed in Sicily enough to decisively influence the political atmosphere.
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Andrew Alwine was born in Sewanee, Tennessee, on September 16, 1982. In
2001 he graduated from Temple High School in Temple, Texas. He graduated from
Baylor University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in history and classics. He will
receive his Master of Arts in classical philology from the University of Florida in 2006.